As you look to start job hunting and enter the workforce for the first time, there are a number of things to consider when applying for positions. Does the company seem like a good place to work? Is the pay sufficient? Does there seem to be room for growth? Are the benefits good? It's this last question that has changed most over the past ten years or so. While a number of progressive companies have been offering fantastic benefits for decades, technology has made it possible to alter the way we view the workplace. In fact, Silicon Valley is very much the home of jobs with wonder perks, and other companies across the nation have started to take notice. Here are five job benefits that are becoming increasingly popular:
1. Gym facilities
Many of us strive to have healthier lifestyles, but after a long day of work, a bus or train ride home, a quick snack and a change of clothes, it can be hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym. However, with fitness facilities directly in the office, you're already at the gym the moment you call it a day. The fact is, many businesses are starting to realize their employees can't work as well if they're in bad health. This benefit is definitely worth taking note of as you job hunt.
2. Napping areas
When you're exhausted it can seem impossible to get anything done. Many companies are realizing it's much better to give employees a little time to recharge their batteries rather than struggle to keep their eyes open in front of a computer screen. Whether it's couches, comfy chairs or a modern napping pod, this is a pretty awesome benefit.
3. Flexible scheduling
The age of the Internet has made it pretty simple for a wide range of professionals to work from home. However, what's even better is that many companies are doing away with the old 9 to 5 model and opting for performance-based measurements of a person's work. Some progressive tech companies have even done away with monitoring office hours or vacation time. Instead of worrying about how long their employees sit behind a desk, they focus on what the employee has accomplished. For those trying to balance work and school or other obligations, this benefit might make your life a lot more manageable.
4. Pet programs
No one wants to leave their dog at home all day locked in a kennel. Luckily, a lot of companies are realizing that it can make the office a lot more welcoming to have pets around. Now, instead of leaving your pet with no one around, you can bring them into work and watch them throughout the day. What's more, since other people will likely also bring in their pets, your pet will be able to make new friends.
5. Free food
A tray of mushy fruit and some stale doughnuts likely won't provide the sustenance needed to get you through a long afternoon of meetings and emails. Companies realize that it's impossible to get work done when you're starving. The best businesses have started providing meals and packing pantries full of snacks so that you don't lose focus when your stomach starts growling. In fact, some of the larger tech companies provide on campus cafeterias for their employees as part of their benefits package.
Of course, on your job hunt, you can't expect every company to provide such robust benefits. However, that doesn't mean that you shouldn't make note of what perks come with each position.
In some ways, a phone interview can almost be more nerve-wracking than an in-person one. Most people are somewhat self-conscious about how they sound on the phone and without being able to read your interviewer's body language and facial expressions it can be hard to get a read on how the interview is going. There's also seemingly more anticipation leading up to the interview. Your phone is in front of you, maybe it's a minute or two past the scheduled time and it's easy to wonder about all the things that could potentially go wrong. What if the phone lines go down? What if the interviewer is held up in a meeting? However, a phone interview doesn't have to be a cause of anxiety. Here are five tips to help you nail your next one:
1. Find a quiet setting
Seems obvious, right? Of course you don't want background noise from traffic, chatter or music during a phone interview. To avoid this, make sure you are taking the call in a quiet environment with reliable phone service. Consider every detail of where you will take the call. For example, you may frequent a small, quiet coffeehouse down the street from your apartment, but what happens if the barista turns on the espresso machine or steams some milk? Anticipate any possible interruption.
Furthermore, it's important to know when to take an impromptu interview and when to reschedule. If a hiring manager calls out of the blue and asks if you have time to chat, don't say yes if you're in the middle of something. Politely explain the situation and reschedule so that you have time to prepare and find a better setting for taking the call.
2. Know the position thoroughly
For most phone interviews, you'll have an adequate amount of time to research the company and review the job description. However, again it's important to be ready for an impromptu phone conversation. When you're job hunting, odds are you'll have several irons in the fire at any given point, so it's imperative not to mix them up. Make sure to keep track of every position to which you apply and that you're ready to have a basic conversation regarding any of them.
3. Have your application materials in front of you
If the phone interview has been scheduled in advance, be sure to have a copy of the job description, your resume, your cover letter and any other application materials on hand during your conversation. This way when the interviewer asks about an aspect of your resume or cover letter you can see exactly what he or she is referencing. Also, write down several questions you have about the position in advance, as most interviewers will leave time for you to voice your inquiries at the end of the interview.
4. Avoid rambling
Since you can't see the person on the other end of the line during a phone interview, it's natural to want to fill any gaps in conversation, which can lead to rambling. Be cognizant of how much time you are taking to answer each question, especially if a finite amount of time has been allotted for the interview. In many cases, recruiters and hiring managers have to stick to a pretty rigid schedule, and if you stick to one talking point for too long it may limit your time to address other questions and concerns.
5. Exude confidence
Confidence has a way of revealing itself over the phone. Even though the interviewer can't see you, any anxiety or nervousness will likely be inflected in your voice. Prepare for the interview thoroughly and then you'll be able to answer the phone confidently and professionally.
When you're out looking for a job, your online presence and reputation are everything. In today's job market, it's not only extremely easy for recruiters and hiring managers to look you up on the Internet, but also it's become a best practice for these key hiring professionals. The fact is that the vast majority of companies now look up applicants online to get a more accurate picture of who they consider hiring. For some, this can be a huge asset, but for others, it may be what causes them to get passed up for an interview. Even if you have the best resume and cover letter of the bunch, one negative link in a Google search can be detrimental. Of course, there are numerous ways to make yourself look more presentable in search engines. Therefore, personal search engine optimization (SEO) is imperative to your job search. Here are five tips for managing your personal SEO:
1. Search yourself often
If you don't know what information about yourself is out on the Internet, there's no way to properly manage it. Regularly type your name into search engines such as Google and Bing and see what results appear on the first page. Ideally, it will all be positive and expected web pages on which there is no professionally questionable content. Make a habit of doing this often so that you become aware as soon as possible of potentially harmful materials.
2. Create an online portfolio or website
Creating one location for all of your professional resources isn't only good for your SEO, but also provides a useful tool to include on job applications. When applying for jobs online, most positions will have an optional box to attach a personal website or portfolio. Take advantage of this space by building an easily accessible online portfolio that will prove to employers that you're willing to go the extra mile.
3. Cover up negative content
The Internet can often be an unforgiving place, and it may be near impossible to remove bad content attached to your name. The fact is, once it's one the Web, it's pretty much permanent. While you could waste a lot of time and energy trying to get it removed – which is rarely successful – the better thing to do is push your positive content higher in search rankings. When using Google or another search engine, most people don't go past the first page. If you can push any potentially unfavorable content to page two, it's much less likely to be seen by employers, colleagues or anyone else.
4. Broaden your social reach
If you're still only on Facebook, odds are you're not casting a wide enough social net. Your personal SEO will grow as you create professional accounts for other social networks such as Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, LinkedIn and so on. The more active you are on these pages, the more likely they are to pop up near the top of your personal search rankings. Also, remember you can often link your pages to create a more complete network of friends, peers, colleagues, coworkers and other professionals.
5. Post positive content
People often hide behind the guise of the Internet to leave nasty and inappropriate comments. Not only is this conduct rude, but if it's traced back to you it can be hazardous to your job search. Rather than mope, complain, taunt or groan, focus on producing positive online content. This is not to say you can't be opinionated, however, remember that anything too polarizing could potentially turn off those viewing your pages.
If you can't seem to be part of the team in the workplace or struggle during a group interview when you're out on the job hunt, it may be time to reconsider how you interact within a group of people in a professional setting. In many workplaces, being able to collaborate successfully is extremely important, especially if you're working to accomplish common goals for the company. If collaborative situations fill you with tension, try readjusting how you work within a team. Here are four tips for becoming a better team player at work:
1. Know when to step back
For certain people, ambition in a professional setting may push them to always take the point role or try to separate themselves from their peers. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but in collaborative situations it can be harmful to creativity and innovation. These ideas have become highly valued in the contemporary workplace, and rely on workers to know when it's time to take the lead and when it's time to follow. The fact is, others will have good ideas and subject matter expertise in certain areas that you lack. It's necessary to be able to step back in those moments and listen to others earnestly.
2. Learn from your mistakes
If you or your team in general makes a mistake, learn from it next time you are in a similar scenario. Errors are an inevitable and necessary element of innovation, so it's better to embrace them than shrug them off.
3. Don't take information for granted
Communication is key in a collaborative workplace. If you assume that everyone has access to the same information, it may slow down your progress as a team. Make sure to share ideas and materials candidly if it is of value to the entire team. In general, making assumptions in the workplace can lead to unfavorable outcomes. Communicate openly about any concerns or issues you have with your team or a superior to ensure that they aren't exacerbated later.
4. Play to your strengths
While it's important to know when to follow, it's also crucial that you are vocal about your strengths. For example, if your work team has a big upcoming presentation and you have significant experience with PowerPoint or other presentation software, make sure that it is known amongst the group. Be proactive about taking on tasks at which you know you excel. It'll be beneficial for both you and your team.
Everyone has days where they walk into the office and just want to walk out. It's natural. Occasionally, work can seem overwhelming and tedious, and in those moments we tend to get distressed, irritable or uninterested. However, if these emotions are becoming a chronic part of your time at work, it may be time to consider looking for a new gig. At the end of the day, if your job isn't rewarding and you're unhappy, it's time to get out of there. Here are five reasons to consider parting with your current employer and taking your job hunt up a level:
1. You're stressed and unhealthy
If your job is causing you an unhealthy amount of stress, it may be time to call it quits. Are the long hours at your desk leaving you fatigued and causing you to put on unwanted pounds? Are you losing sleep because you're thinking too much about work before bed? Maybe it's time to find a place of employment that puts more stock in your well-being.
2. There's no room for advancement
It shouldn't be too hard to identify if there's room for advancement in at your place of employment. If you've seen peers and superiors rise the ranks and you know you can do it too, then maybe it's worth sticking around. But if it's abundantly clear there's nothing more than lateral movement – or maybe no room to move at all – then you should start looking for a position with more opportunities for growth. After all, you can't climb the corporate ladder if it doesn't exist.
3. You're not developing career skills
The fact is some less-than-desirable employers are going to treat you like a robot. They will see you as a trained machine designed to accomplish a specific task, and show little interest in your skills outside of that. However, good businesses take advantage of their staff's distinct professional skills and foster an environment in which their employees can flourish. If your job feels redundant and uninspiring, it may be a sign that you're not being challenged enough. In this case, start looking for positions that may more fully utilize your creative talents.
4. You don't have respect for the company
Sometimes, you may not realize that a company is unprofessional or unethical until you're deeply embedded in the day-to-day activities that occur there. If you've been working at a company and have come to realize that you don't respect its values, it's time to start job hunting right away. It's nearly inevitable that eventually your dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the business will come to light, and in the heat of the moment you could burn a bridge. Rather than allow pressure to build up, begin looking for positions with companies that seem to align more with your beliefs.
5. You keep vowing to quit
If you're just getting through work week to week and vowing that one of these days you're going to get out of there, then make good on your promise. If you're already considering quitting, it's probably only a matter of time before you go through with it. Again, don't wait for your frustration to boil over. If you erupt and quit your job without a plan, then the following period of unemployment will be equally if not more stressful, as well as financially draining. Instead, double down on your job hunting efforts, and imagine how nice it will be to professionally put in your two weeks once you have been offered a new position.
It's only natural that sometimes you're going to feel ready for the next step in your career. In fact, you should be considering where your career is headed all the time. Whether you're simply looking for a change of scenery or a big promotion, it's important to be able to negotiate the terms and value of your work. For example, if you interview for a contract or consultancy position, you'll need to be prepared to lay out your terms during an interview. If you've been working your butt off for an internal promotion, you'll need tangible evidence of why you deserve it over your colleagues. All in all, there's an art to negotiating what you're worth, and though it can take years of time and practice, here are five tips to get you started:
1. Do your research
At the end of the day, there's no excuse for not having some idea of what others are making in positions comparable to your own. This information is listed on a wide range of locations across the Web, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com and Salary.com, among others. Learn how your salary compares to your peers across the industry, and also have an idea of the average salary for those in the position for which you are gunning.
2. Know what you're asking for
If you're sitting down with your boss to discuss your performance and hoping to get rewarded for your hard work, be prepared to explain exactly what you are asking for. Do you want a raise or are you looking for benefits? Do you feel you've earned extra vacation days? Is the change in title most important? Be able to discuss in detail why you believe you have earned more responsibility or specific perks.
3. Show off your worth
It's dangerous to enter a negotiation feeling undervalued without concrete evidence to support your claim. In the case of an interview, having tangible examples of your past work may make the difference when negotiating pay. If you're vying for a promotion, having firm proof of how you have gone above and beyond during your time with the company may be pivotal. Remember that you'll need to demonstrate consistency. Showcasing your worth means going that extra step on a daily basis.
4. Keep the conversation going
If a negotiation gets put on hold, make sure you actively work to keep it going without being too pushy. Establish what was accomplished during a discussion and reiterate it clearly to those involved before tabling the negotiations for later. Also, make sure to take notes on what was discussed so that you may refer back to it. If you bring up the subject with your boss several times and are brushed aside, it may be a sign that you should start looking elsewhere to continue your career development. Stagnant jobs with no room for advancement can quickly become unrewarding, and you should consider moving on to a new company if it seems you're stuck in one place.
5. Leave room for compromise
You can't walk in and expect that all of your demands are going to be met unquestioned. Remember that a negotiation requires wiggle room on both ends. Don't bow out right away and accept a low offer, but also be prepared to get pushback on your terms. Rather than say no to a specific offer, ask for more information about your boss's thought process and what they see for your future with the company.
If you've been putting in a lot of extra hours and taking on new responsibilities at work, it may seem that a promotion is just around the corner. Maybe it's an internal position that just opened up or you're taking on a huge new account, but whatever the catalyst, it's usually pretty easy to tell when you're ready for the next step. This can make it all the more devastating if you get passed up for a promotion by someone you feel doesn't fit the bill. In these situations, it's easy to lose your head. However, fight your initial instinct to storm out and then reevaluate. Here are five things to do when you don't receive a much-deserved promotion:
1. Don't act right away
Don't let yourself do something regrettable in the heat of the moment. It's a natural to have the urge to shut down, quit or badmouth the person who received the promotion. Remember that reacting in this way will only make the situation worse. While you may have gotten passed up, you never know what opportunities the future will hold, and it won't do you any good to burn bridges in the meantime. In the moment missing out may seem like a bigger deal than it is in actuality.
2.Shake it off
Take some time to collect your thoughts and cool down. It's perfectly acceptable to ask your boss why you were passed up or for criticism on ways you can improve, but if you do this while you're still frustrated you may react unfavorably. Give yourself enough time to find a collected and professional way of approaching your boss or other higher ups to learn more about how the decision was made.
3. Find out why
When you initiate the conversation, make sure to position your questions in a professional manner. Don't ask why so and so was chosen over you. Instead, politely inquire as to what held you back this time around and how you can improve. Be prepared to take constructive criticism, and avoid being defensive or standoffish. Remember to be diplomatic. Take note of external issues that may be out of your hands, as it may be a cue as to your future opportunities with the company.
4. Actively work to get better
Ideally, once you've talked with your boss, you'll have a better understanding of what you can be doing to earn the promotion next time around. Focus on the specific reasons that were cited for you being passed over, and work to strengthen these areas. For example, if you did not receive the promotion for not having enough leadership experience, find ways to become a more active leader around the office. Spearhead new projects and vocalize your ideas. Hopefully, this initiative will be easily recognizable and then there will be no question of who to promote in the future.
5. Look for other opportunities
If your efforts are going unrecognized and unrewarded, it may simply be time to start looking elsewhere. Get a pulse on other open opportunities and double your networking efforts. Though you may not make the switch immediately, it's important to remain focused on advancing your career. You can't wait around in hopes that an internal opening simply pops up or the next promotion presents itself. Once you've sorted out why you were passed up, make a point of updating your resume, browsing the job market and meeting new people. Ideally, if you remain active at work and in your job search, a new opportunity will soon become available.